What is Omega 3 - Nutriden

Omega 3 is a fatty acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acids to be specific. They are essential nutrients for good health, which means we need them in our bodies to keep healthy. This is because our bodies use omega 3 fatty acids to control blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, among many other important jobs. But, our bodies do not make Omega 3 fatty acids naturally, we need to get them through our diet. Luckily, they can be easily found in foods right at the grocery store, like fish and flaxseed. Even more luckily, there are high quality supplements of Omega 3 fatty acids that can be taken.

Let's talk a little more about what Omega 3 fatty acids are. We've all learned in elementary school that there are essential foods and nutrients that we need to keep our bodies healthy. We all remember the food pyramid, right? You need so many servings of protein, starches, vegetables, etc. It is the same for fatty acids, you need so much of it for your body to function normally.

Fatty acids are the building blocks of fat, making them critical for the normal production and functioning of cells, muscles, nerves and organs. As we said previously, we need them to control blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, among other important jobs , for instance they are required for the production of hormone-like compounds that help regulate blood pressure, heart rate and blood clotting. They sound pretty important, right? That is because they are. Since our bodies do not make omega 3 fatty acids, we need to ingest them within the foods we eat on a normal basis or take them in supplement form. As some of the foods can be hard to add to a weekly menu or diet, many adults find it easier to take a daily omega 3 supplement. Taking a supplement also cuts down on the worry or fuss of making sure you are getting the right amount of omega 3 fatty acids for you.

As you can see, the essential nutrient, Omega 3, is used by our bodies for important functions. Therefore, getting the correct amount of it in our diet is imperative. When you do, you may find you lose weight, your memory gets better, and your blood pressure gets lower. All great reasons to learn more about it and get started right away.

Types of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

There are two types of Omega 3 fatty acids that our bodies use as an essential nutrient: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids are found in cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines, tuna, and herring. There is also a omega 3 fatty acid that comes from plants: alpha- Linolenic acid (ALA). This fatty acid is found in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, purslane, perilla seed oil, walnuts, and walnut oil. The problem with ALA is that the body needs to turn into EPA or DHA before it can use it and our bodies don't do that very well. Therefore, you will want to make sure your supplements contain both EPA and DHA.

Top Myths About Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Myth #1:

 Omega 3 found in plants like flaxseed and walnuts is healthier for you than the Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil.

This myth is based on the difference between the types of Omega 3 fatty acids. While it is healthy, the plant Omega 3 fatty acid is the ALA form, which can only be used by the body if it converts it into the Omega 3 fatty acid form EPA and DHA. As these two types of Omega 3 fatty acids are naturally found in fish oil, the plant form is not the optimum way to get your Omega 3.

Myth #2:

 Omega 3 is only for people who are sick.

Prevention of disease and being healthy are two basic benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids. It is not just for people who are sick. For instance, a regiment of Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet will help your muscles feel less sore when you exercise and keep your HDL(good cholesterol) high while keeping your triglycerides low, which helps prevent heart disease in the first place.

Myth #3:

 Liquid fish oil is better than softgels.

The quality of a fish oil supplement is not in the way you take it or in the type of pill. The quality lies in how the manufacturer refines the fish oil, not in which way you are taking it.

Myth #4:

 Fish oil can thin the blood and increase bleeding time to a dangerous level.

Yes, fish oil does thin the blood. If you are already on blood thinners you will want to talk to your doctor before adding a fish oil supplement to your diet. There are many benefits of omega 3 fatty acids that you will want to work with your physician to safely take the medications you need and the supplements you would like to add to your diet.

Myth #5:

 Eggs that contain omega-3s provide an adequate source of DHA and EPA.

No, the omega 3s in eggs are plant based omega 3s called Alpha Linolenic Acid, ALA. This is not the same type of omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil.